‘Zoo’ by Mark Irwin

Thought I’d share some poem that wasn’t my own (shock, horror). This is one of Mark Irwin’s poem called ‘Zoo’, from The Southern Review winter 2016 issue. I love this poem for it’s use of natural imagery  – ‘yellow leaves’, ‘grazing animals’ – and the images the reader gets from his poems. Here is ‘Zoo’:


In her old age, Mother enjoys going to the zoo
as the trees let loose their yellow leaves
and stand like furniture among the grazing animals
who stare from a long distance. Often I think
this could be a story she’s telling me as we walk
through doorways catching fire, or sit on a stone bench
growing larger and more cold, watching the little clouds
our words make, and in the distance—buffalo, built
of the earth, with their horns made of rock, their coats
of dried grass. Only drama without movement
is beautiful, said Simone Weil, speaking of Lear, and soon
everything’s ablaze and we’re running toward youth,
and the skyline of a city, its fossil, while animals, shrieking,
stampede past us, and mother calls out their names,
zebra, buffalo, gazelle, ever so clearly, then enters
into shadow with them, that diorama we call memory.


If you want to have a look at some more poems by him click here

If you want to have a look at the issue it was from take a look at it here


*Featured image from: © 2016 Poetry Foundation


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